As a goal-oriented, future looking person I’m all about end of year looking back/looking forward wrap ups but I was going to skip right over the topic this time around. The whole new decade thing brought on what can only be described as a dramatic mid life crisis haha! A lot shifted for me in the past year and I haven’t yet found my footing, so the impending decade change plus crazy world events plus born-in-1980 freak-out makes sense. Where the last decade was all about having/raising babies and being home with the kids and homeschooling and moving back to CA and working on this house, I’m entering the twenties in such a different stage of life.
For the first time, as of 6 months ago, I’m not homeschooling anyone and, barring an unexpected necessity, don’t plan on going back to it. My days have opened up and I returned to teaching art – very part time, to jr high and high school students – the first “real” job I’ve had in 12 years! I see the next decade as an era of teenagers – the last decade my kids will be living at home. And also one where I need to figure out “what I’m doing with my life.” I want to be around and actively involved in my kids’ lives and also would love to find a fulfilling but flexible “career path.” Oh, and also, I’m turning 40 next December so why don’t I already know what I’m doing with my life? You feeling this? It’s crazy how raising kids consumes you and then one day you emerge disoriented as a decade has passed right before your eyes and, in standard life achievement rubrics, you have very little to show for it. I don’t for a minute regret my decision to stay home with my kids or to homeschool for years or to continue “being around” for them (and don’t take for granted the extreme privilege that allowed me to do so), but everything comes at a sacrifice so as a result, I have no “career” to speak of and that feels scary as my identity as homeschool/stay at home parent lifts.
Adding to these shaky feelings, as many of you I’m sure can relate, are politics/religion/world events. Just existing, let alone raising kids, in these times comes with a persistent underlying sense of anxiousness and dread. I’m not sure if I’m just finally paying attention and the world is just as awful as it’s ever been or if we truly are living in ultra bizarre times (first explanation is most likely). Either way, the past decade (heck the past 3 years. heck the past 5 days) have shaped my thinking and beliefs in irrevocable ways and this new decade, and the rest of my life, will have a fight for social justice, migrant rights, and updated theology that my 20’s and early 30’s shamefully lacked. While this blog and IG aren’t platforms dedicated to any of that, I’m thankful for the wisdom that has been gleaned and I can’t talk about the passage of years without a mention. It’s obvious we are living in a dumphole of a world, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to make it better.
Now for the reason you are here: house projects and making a home! A year ago we had the unnerving uncertainty of whether a job would move us out of SLO, but this year we feel certainty (as much as one can have) that this will be our home for at least the next 10 years while our kids, now 9 and 12, are still under our roof. As a planner, I love having that information solidified to inform house projects going forward. As a parent, the thought that this is the last decade we will have kids at home fills me with parallel heartbreak and delight. (My husband and I regularly talk of our “retirement” days – which means retirement from parenting not earning money – and we are excited to downsize/upgrade to not family-friendly, wildly modern home somewhere by the beach or deep in the dessert and take extravagant road trips with no backseat complainers. Dreams, ha!)
A look back at 2019:
You can see last year’s post here, but our future in this house was uncertain a year ago so I didn’t set lofty house goals, only necessary ones. As plans became clear, we abandoned those and dove into so many unexpected and fun aesthetic “passion” projects that won’t do anything for resale but 100% have upped my enjoyment of our house. Highlights include:
Backyard Fence – addressing our backyard fence issues has been a goal since we first moved in and it is SO FULFILLING to have finally tackled it! It has singlehandedly lifted us from all around dumpy looking.Master Bedroom Additions – a dream furniture acquisition I thought would never happen so it finally feels truly done…I mean, besides the carpet :/ And ZERO regrets about adding a TV!Back Gate – this was one out of necessity but still so aesthetically fun!Wood wall – winner of Favorite Project 2019, this affordable wood wall has transformed the feeling of our house. We are still working on pulling the room together to serve us better (did you hear a new couch is on the way?!) but this wall is what has been missing in this room all along.Front Yard Screens – technically completed in 2018 but painted in 2019, these finished off the look of our front exterior yay!Faux Board and Batten Wall – it was the year of wall facades! I loved this project and couldn’t believe how easy or cheap it was!One Room Challenge Den Revamp – while the timeline was stressful for sure, I am so so happy with the quick revamp of our den. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever do an ORC again, but I have barely changed a thing in this room and it functions beautifully so maybe that speaks volumes to the success of the One Room Challange and I should utilize the challenge again for those rooms I’m avoiding???
Looking forward to 2020 and beyond
House – With a 10+ year plan to be in this house, this is the home that our kids will (are) spend(ing) the bulk of the childhood in and I’m so happy with that. I truly love this house and it has lived up to its promise to be an exceptional family home. We want to keep our slow and steady pace of improvements up over the next 5 years and then hopefully just enjoy living here and deal with upkeep and maintenance on the backend (windows, roof, etc). As of now, our Twenties goals include:
Kitchen – a full refresh:
- solid-surface counter
- tile backsplash
- cabinet overhaul with new drawer boxes/glides/etc
- new sink
- new cooktop
- new fridge
- maybe a built-in table nook
- saving for pickle-colored Eames shell chairs
- new light
- paint and organize pantry interior
- wood floors
Master bath – a gut renovation:
- built new vanity
- new sink
- new faucet
- tile backsplash
- tile floors
- whole new glass shower
- tile floors
Den – feels so done but:
- on the long-term hunt for a Bertoia wire ottoman to match our chair
- room divider!
- finish the step
- new couch
- on the hunt for a womb chair and it’s not going well :(
- new carpet eventually
- funky design on the pass through opening
- bring in some color
- looking for a small danish credenza
- new cover for our doorbell chimes
- large scale art for the hall wall
- organize and redesign – it’s a mess
- redesign with less pink per request (avoiding this one)
- terrazzo floors (original glitter linoleum is chipping and peeling sadly)
- glass shower door
- probably repaint/redesign walls and ceiling at some point
- possibly add a real door instead of pocket door
- done except weeding, upkeep and maybe a few plant rearranges :)
- finish last few feet of fence
- hot tub…maybe
- plant some birds of paradise
- design BBQ area
- so many outdoor chair repairs!
For this year, I’m hoping we’ll tackle the finishing touches on the backyard, the blue bathroom floors, and the family room divider/step down – though that has made my list for like 4 years and we never seem to get to it! I’d also love to at least get started on one of three bigger project (either master floors, master bath or the kitchen).
Personal – None of these are house specific, but general right-ways-of-living goals that are home-adjacent, if you will. And I realize that all of these are kind of saying the same thing, which I think is to be intentional with your life:
-Use our resources (time/money/headspace) wisely on what matters to us and live contentedly within our means. For us, priorities are making our house a space we enjoying doing life in, traveling, and donating to organizations working towards making the world we want. This is the year that we explored, priced out, and ultimately said no to a backyard pool and a vacation rental because we don’t need more to take care of or worry about (and the stock market is best investment swears economist husband!). We have all that us as 18 year olds could ever dream of. Contentment (minus the broken down t-bird in the garage…we should be cruising!)
-Don’t build a life we don’t want. I talked about this one last year, and this idea goes hand in hand with the above sentiment, but I continually want to fight off comparison or ideas of what I “should” be doing or the pressure to continually scale up. This is about being intentional with spending time on the life we actually want, which is a life of less.
-Less consumerism, more used/vintage, continue to pare down. Especially in my (and my kids’) wardrobes, where I’m failing miserably with impulse fast-fashion purchases. But also, obviously, in our home. I want to buy vintage even more so than I do now, buy used instead of new whenever possible, and to continue to embrace minimalism in a way that suits our family. A general theme of better, not more.
-Less consumerism, more used/vintage, continue to pare down WHILE BLOGGING. The above goal is a funny one considering 1. I blog about house stuff (and even earn a modest amount from the products I sometimes buy and recommend) and 2. I actively seek out, buy and sell vintage goods. How can I both embrace a life of less while I encourage consumerism and actively consume myself? For a long time I’ve wrestled with these dichotomies, especially the blogging part, and it causes me to continually revisit if my time on this blog is worth the time investment required or, worse, is it causing harm by contributing to a wasteful throw-away culture. But, for now, I’ve landed here : 1. I believe everyone needs to be who they are and generously share their passions with the world. 2. I believe an intentionally designed living space can dramatically improve your life 3. I strongly believe in the magic and ethos of mid century design 4. I love finding, documenting, and sharing those magical mid century objects, homes, and architectural examples 5. Life is hard so the random things that bring you joy are worth your time 6. It brings me joy to share home projects and encourage a creative life on this blog. Blogging will never be a job job for me because the only way to make a real living is with strong and regular promotion of the consumerism of new items, in direct contrast to the above values. But with that, I want to continue to share home projects as they come along (and fill in the gaps on Instagram) and to better walk that fine line of making money on this blog (which is the most modest amount you could imagine, but still deserves some thoughtfulness) by being both more accepting (as in, it’s ok to earn something from organic recommendations that I share that have helped us improve our home) and more selective with the few affiliate links and rare sponsored posts I share. So, for now, that is my why of why I’m here. Hi.
-Get through my mid life crisis aka figure out “job”/career/how I spend my days over the next decade. It’s obviously not blogging ha! I feel like I have several small irons in fires but nothing stands out as a singular passion I should be pursuing so I’m working through that while making sure I’m not building a life I don’t really want. I’m at the WHAT AM I EVEN DOING WITH MY LIFE freak out stage and have accepted I might be here for the rest of my life :)
This started out as a quick superficial 2019 recap and then it spiraled into the embarrassingly long dear-diary entry of a weirdo, the quintessential “a blog is a conversation nobody wanted to have with you” post (Michelle Wolf’s funny and maybe true words). This is the conversation nobody asked for, so thank you if you stuck around for all that! In all seriousness, I truly appreciate you fellow mid century design lovers and your input and encouragement and support! And hope you aren’t having a new decade freak out too!!